Non- Operative Treatment
First the doctor will examine your various reports and X-rays and MRIs. Then, based on your age, level of pain and overall state of fitness, the doctor you are consulting will make some serious decisions. If he feels that your pain might be relieved with conventional treatment methods, he will not recommend immediate surgery and will prefer that you make use of these treatments to reduce your pain. If however, the doctor observes that you pain is not reducing or it keeps coming back for a period of 3-4 months, he will recommend that you undergo surgery to relieve the pain. The non-surgical options available to you have been highlighted in the pictures alongside.
If your doctor believes that you need surgical intervention, he will use different types of surgeries to help relieve your pain. Some of the surgeries that Dr. Varun Agarwal is an expert at have been highlighted below.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
This procedure is also called anterior cervical discectomy and it’s basic principle is removal of the disk that is causing your pain. This is a form of decompression which means that it removes the pressure that is pressing on your nerves. You might know that the disk maintains the stability of your spine and you might be wondering how your neck will remain stable if the surgeon removes the disk. Well, that’s where the ‘fusion’ part of this procedure comes in. This allows the two vertebrae above and below the disk to fuse, i.e, for bone formation to take between them, making them one solid piece. This maintains the stability of your neck. It is usually done in cases where there is disk herniation to cervical stenosis and is mainly aimed at alleviating neck and arm pain.
Artificial Cervical Disk Replacement (ADR)
This procedure allows decompression of the spinal chord and the nerve roots and help maintain natural movement. The basis of this procedure is the insertion of a disk prosthesis. After your original weak or degenerated disk is removed, this hi-tech prosthesis is placed by your surgeon between the two vertebrae. This procedure is usually indicated for spinal stenosis, disk degeneration or a disk herniation. One has to remember that this technique is a motion-preservation technique and not a motion-creation technique. This means that a severe spondylotic disk that cannot move before the procedure, will not be able to move after the insertion of the artificial disk.
Cervical Posterior Foraminotmy
This procedure is the most minimally invasive, where a small incision is made on the back of your skin. The surgeon shaves off the bone that is causing excess pressure on your nerves. This technique has the least damage to the tissues involved and allows for easy removal of osteophyte and herniated material of the disk.
Posterior Cervical Laminectomy
The goal of this procedure is to decompress the spine roots and nerves. This is accomplished by removal of the lamina, a part of the vertebrae covering the spinal chord. However, this procedure involves a more extensive approach as compared to the foraminotomy. This procedure creates more space for the spinal chord.
Posterior Cervical Laminoplasty
This procedure involves reshaping and remodeling the bone to allow excess space for the spinal chord and is especially used in cases of spinal stenosis. In this technique, the lamina is hinged like a door on one side so that the integrity of the spinal column remains intact while the pressure on the spinal chord is alleviated.